The Jazz and Creative Institute Faculty Ensemble
featuring Ashley Daneman

October 9, 2020
6:00 pm Parking lot opens / cash bar
7:00 pm Concert

$50/person includes dessert; cash bar available.
Proceeds from the evening benefit our “Growing Young Artists” program for migrant & at-risk students.

We welcome the Jazz & Creative Institute Faculty Ensemble to the SCA for a socially distanced outdoor concert! These hot young artists serve up cool standards and original tunes. Rounding out the band is noted vocalist Ashley Daneman bringing fresh song stylings.
It’s “BYOC + J” (Bring Your Own Chair + Jacket) for this safe, comfortable open-air concert in our parking lot. From bebop to modern jazz, you’re in for an evening of unforgettable entertainment.

The event is sponsored by Shirley Sutton & Dick Shaw, Pat & Larry Sharp, Kim Redlin & Phillip Crump, Mary Terzino & Gregg Potter, and Anthony & Susan Pastor. Our sponsors are passionate about the SCA’s​ ​Growing Young Artists program which gives K-8th grade migrant and at-risk students important creative educational opportunities​​.

They invite you to join them to support Growing Young Artists and make a difference for these too often forgotten young people in our community.​

From bebop to modern jazz, you’re in for an evening of unforgettable entertainment.

Based in Kalamazoo, the Jazz & Creative Institute is a unique, comprehensive learning environment of performing artists and students from ages 6 through 86. From individual instruction and mentorship to weekly group playing opportunities to jam sessions or masterclasses alongside professional musician faculty artists, the JCI’s professional faculty foster a community environment for learning and collaboration. JCI faculty have been hand-selected and vetted from dozens of applicants — 95% of them have a masters degree in performance and are currently working as a professional artist. Jazz faculty are cross-trained across many genres and are adept at improvisation.


Jazz trumpeter, Benje Daneman, got his start professionally in 2007 on a national tour with The Doc Severinsen Big Band and has since performed as a sideman and leader at prestigious venues across the nation including The Kennedy Center, The Iridium Jazz Club, Festival of New Trumpet Music, and Baryshnikov Arts Center. An alumnus of Manhattan School of Music, Western Michigan University and The Henry Mancini Institute (Los Angeles, CA), Daneman is also a passionate music educator and has worked as a teaching artist with The New York Pops, Western Michigan University’s SEMINAR, and Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance (NYC). Currently, he directs and leads the Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra and oversees the Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Lab Band through the Jazz & Creative Institute in partnership with Western Michigan University.

Rufus Ferguson is a jazz pianist who earned degrees from Western Michigan University under the mentorship of Jeremy Siskind and Matthew Fries. During his tenure at WMU he has studied with artists such as Scott Cowan, Andrew Rathbun, Edward Simon, and Frank Carlberg. Rufus got his start studying classical piano at the age of 5. He became a gospel church organist at a young age and later began playing jazz piano at age 13.

Rufus is an experienced performer, arranger, composer and teacher, specifically in the jazz genre; his arrangements have most recently been presented by his 9-piece ensemble at the 2018 Gilmore Keyboard Festival. Rufus has performed at festivals including the Notre Dame Jazz Festival, Elmhurst Jazz Festival, Flint Jazz Festival and the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference in Louisville, KY. He has served as class piano instructor at Western Michigan University where he also directed the University Jazz Lab Band and is currently piano instructor for the Suzuki Academy of Kalamazoo, Crescendo Academy of Music, Kalamazoo Academy of Rock and Gilmore Education Department. He is also the Jazz Band Director at Portage Northern High School, faculty pianist at Jazz & Creative Institute and Education Manager for the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra.

Ashley Daneman is a singer who a combines “a literary sensibility with a driving experimental jazz style where the heart of the song can find itself anywhere and always in a personal intimate space” (Marlbank). Her new release, People Are Fragile (Flood Music), traverses the emotional waters of pain, recovery, and rebirth following a series of losses.

Daneman grew up in Toledo, Ohio studying classical voice and performing in musicals before turning to jazz and songwriting in her twenties. She honed her craft in Washington, DC, New York City, and by touring in the U.S. Daneman was also a resident artist at The Kennedy Center’s Betty Carter’s JazzAhead and The Banff Centre’s Jazz and Creative Workshop in Alberta, Canada. She earned her master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music under the guidance of Peter Eldridge, Kate McGarry, and Theo Bleckman.

Madison George is a drummer who performs throughout the Midwest area. He attends Western Michigan University majoring in jazz studies, and studies with Keith Hall. His versatility has allowed him to play in a variety of settings, such as jazz bands, rock bands, musical productions, and everything in between. He has performed with artists of many genres, such as jazz artists Terell Stafford, Chico Pinhiero, Deborah Brown, Peter Eldridge, Edward Simon, Andrew Rathbun, Matthew Fries, Tom Knific, Jeremy Siskind, Max Colley III, Kevin Jones, Steve Talaga, and Chris Lawrence. At WMU, he has been a member of Gold Company, Jazz Orchestra, and the Advanced Jazz Ensemble. He has also worked with many pop/rock artists, such as American Idol alum Matt Giraud, indie rock band Michigander, singer Yolonda Lavender, and singer/songwriter Benjamin James. You can catch him performing with electronic jazz/hip-hop quintet Lushh and Grand Rapids-based funk band The Hip Pocket.

Originally from the Midwest, Andy studied bass at the New England Conservatory with Cecil McBee and John Lockwood and more recently, with Robert Hurst. After beginning serious musical training mainly in French horn at the Interlochen Arts Academy, playing bass and performing improvised music became a main interest. With the help of Benje Daneman and others in the West Michigan jazz scene, Andy began playing gigs in his late teens. Only a few years later, a stint in the US Air Force bands took him traveling and performing throughout much of the US, Europe and Asia. During this time, Andy had the good fortune to perform with Eddie Daniels, Kristen Korb, Brian Lynch, Donny McCaslin, Kendrick Scott and others. While finishing graduate school, Andy directed the Campus Jazz big band and small ensembles, plus the Michigan Youth Jazz program at the University of Michigan.